Today’s Scrip-Bit   21 November 2022 Proverbs 24:17.

Proverbs 24:17.       Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:

Prologue: Please excuse the lateness of the Bit, but I had some personal stuff that needed immediate attention, and it took longer than I expected. But as they say, ‘better late than never.’ (smile) 

Now friends, let’s just be glad and ever so thankful that we didn’t get the terrible snowstorm that the city of Buffalo, across the U. S. border got this weekend. The city was shut down for the entire weekend. Oh, we got a decent amount of the beautiful white, but ever so dangerous stuff, but God be praised that this Monday morning, as the work week opened, our roads were dry and clean and the sun’s shining ever so brightly in a cloudless sky! 

Let’s not laugh though at Buffalo or crow over their misfortune for sooner or later we will get our fair share of the winter blues. (smile) And that just draws my attention to the wise words of Cousin Sol on the subject of mocking one’s enemies from the Book of Proverbs. Please listen carefully, as he wisely advises: ‘Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him (be evil in his eyes), and he turn away his anger from him.’ (Prov. 24:17-18) 

Oh my people, that is such a wise scripture, especially in these turbulent times, of strife, envy and greed and autocratic behaviour. And I like how one commentary explains it. ‘God commands you to LOVE your personal enemies, and it is one of the chief measures of a true Christian. Such LOVE includes being grieved when your enemy falls or stumbles in life. If you are glad or rejoice when he is hit by adversity, you have sinned.’  And I know some of us will find that a hard scripture to accept, but it’s one of the basic tenets of our faith. As Christ said, LOVING our neighbour as ourselves is the second greatest commandment in the law of God. (Matt. 22:39) 

And just look at how God LOVED us when we were totally clothed in sin and disobedience. He could have laughed and gloated and turned away from us, but He didn’t. The Bible tells us that instead, ‘But God commendeth (demonstrated) his LOVE to us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Rom. 5:8) That means, if we want to be like God, show grace and mercy, then we cannot gloat over the demise of our enemies. 

And I guess one of the best examples of that is found in the Book of the prophet Obadiah, when the Lord threatened Edom, the descendants of Esau, for failure to help their cousins, the sons of Jacob, that’s Judah when they were besieged by their enemies, as well as their constant hostility towards them. 

The prophecy reads: ‘For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever. In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon (for) Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them. But thou shouldest not have looked, (gazed on, gloated over) on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger (captive); neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. 

Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the days of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway (crossroads), to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up (made captive) those of his that did remain in the day of distress.’ (Obad. 10-14) 

I guess that solidly states the case for not rejoicing over the demise of one’s neighbours. (smile) And as always, God’s prophecies do come true. It seems that the Edomites who lived in the fortress-like hill country neighbouring Judah, were brash and bold, figuring that they could not be subjugated because of their hilly terrain. They also seemed to have gotten wealthy by taxing those who passed through their land. The scholars tell us the ‘Edomites remained a constant threat to the Israelites until Bruh David conquered them (2. Sam. 8:13-18). 

Ah friends, you should read that scripture and see the mighty warrior king Bruh David became with God’s help, as he subdued all those nations around him and united Israel for the first time. However, when Israel again became a divided land, the monarchy was broken up, the Edomites regained their independence and their constant hostility towards God’s people, their cousins, was frequently denounced by Israel’s prophets. But as the Lord had promised, they were later subjugated by Assyria and eventually overrun by the Nabateans in the third century B.C. 

Wow! That should teach us never to doubt the promises and prophecies of God, no matter how long they take to come to pass, for, like He told the prophet Habakkuk: ‘For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’ (Hab. 2:4) That’s why, as we raise our voices in prayer through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, let’s understand that it’s all about God’s timing, not ours, and our duty is simply to pray and then wait for His answer. 

Altogether now: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You this Monday morning for life and strong faith in Christ, despite the mass confusion in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously disobeyed Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, who has faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us wise guidance and direction to alleviate our problems. 

And Father, we pray that you will ease the pain of the many who are suffering from negative situations. Please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again, we say: Amen!’ 

Now, my fellow saints, let’s do our part, and wait patiently, expectantly, with strong faith, for the Lord to do His. Much LOVE!

…recompense to no man…evil for evil…be not overcome of evil…but overcome evil with good… (Rom. 12:17, 21) 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 August 2021 Proverbs 24:16.

Proverbs 24:16.      For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief (stumble into calamity). 

And it seems like it’s going to be another glorious summer Saturday in August! O give thanks to our wonderful God for the many wonders of nature He’s created for us to enjoy! Ah friends, the splendour of the bright noonday sun, the exhilarating colours of the heavens, the flowers, the birds, and all the other bright hued components of nature, just prove that our God is not only omnipotent but also has a great eye for beauty, is indeed the artist for the ages! Give Him much thanks and praise! 

And having done that, let’s get down to brass tacks now, checking out the quotes that our friend Anselm sent us this past week. And the first one says: ‘I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.’ Now that’s a statement that ought to be true of all of us my people! We should always try to be true to ourselves and not capitulate to the wishes and desires of others, regardless of who they may be and their position in our society. 

But, unfortunately, it’s a situation to which many of us fall prey. We accept the rightness of others over that of ourselves and go around thinking much less of ourselves than we ought to. Believe me though, the worse thing we can possibly do in this life is to go around disliking ourselves. And as to the more intense sentiment of abhorring ourselves, brother, that should never ever even enter our minds because that just kills all the joy in our souls. 

Remember, you have to be with yourself every minute of every hour of every day, and abhorrence of oneself will certainly play a big and most likely negative part in the formation and structure of your life. Please do not forget the second great commandment as pronounced by Jesus: ‘Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thy self.’ (Matt. 22:39) And if you dislike or abhor yourself, logic dictates that your LOVE for your neighbour will be poor to non-existent. 

Then we have this interesting quote: ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’ And that’s ever so true! Children are young, malleable and pliable and can much more easily be formed or conformed to the image we desire, than trying to change those already set in their ways. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. 

Now it’s not that you can’t, but it’s ever so difficult to teach someone set in their ways and thinking new skills, especially if the skillset needed is completely new to them. That’s like teaching older folks to use a computer in these modern times, where almost everything is computerized. But you’ll note how quickly children acquire those same computer skills, because they have nothing else to compare it to, or nothing to throw out before they can embrace it. 

That brings to mind this scripture from Jesus, where he explains greatness. ‘Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matt. 18:3) Meaning that we must all become like children, humble, malleable, teachable and willing to receive and accept His word without a lot of resistance. Just threw that in as a li’l food for thought. (smile) 

Then comes this quote: ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.’ And that’s for certain sure! If you want any kind of power at all, in any sphere whatsoever, you will always have demands made by the very same power you wield! Just look at political leaders, teachers, judges, doctors, etc. They all wield some kind of power, but that same power demands that they do certain things, follow certain rules and behave in certain ways. 

Even dictators, who supposedly can do what they want, are still constrained by that very power in certain circumstances. It’s also true of the lowliest rank of power, like the captain of a kindergarten team. You may pick whom you desire, but you still have rules to follow. (smile) So for those of us who desire power so badly, that we are willing to sell our souls for it, please realize that power itself is a very demanding and ofttimes very intractable (ungovernable) mistress. (smile) 

And the last quote advises: ‘You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated.’ Oh, so true, so true, my brethren! And that applies ever so much to Christians, because in Christ, there is NO giving up! Yes my fellow believers, there are no words like defeat or give up in Christ’s vocabulary. You might lose, but you are NEVER defeated, which means you NEVER give up! And Cousin Sol lays it on the line for us: ‘For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief (stumble into calamity).’ (Prov. 24:16) 

Yes friends, the believer in Christ may fall many times, but he gets back up every time and continues the good fight in Christ’s name. Hear how the prophet Micah puts it nuh: ‘Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.’ (Mic. 7:8) Truer words were never spoken or written my fellow saints in Christ! We are always expected to stand up again when we stumble, and we can do that because we have the wonderful power of Christ, whereby ‘We can do all things, through Christ who strengthens us!’ (Phil. 4:13) 

But friends, I think it’s also important that we note the other side of the coin, so to speak. Cousin Sol tells us: ‘Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him (it seems like evil in his eyes), and he turn away his wrath from him.’ (Prov. 24:18) 

Oh, I know it’s not easy, but despite our successes, we are not to laugh at out enemy’s demise or calamity because it is liable to displease God, who doesn’t like us crowing or boasting of our supposedly superior efforts and achievements, especially since He is the one that enables us to rise and be successful. So, in closing, let’s remember to never give up, to get back up each time we fall, but also don’t boast or laugh at our enemies’ problems, for our God doesn’t like it. Much LOVE!

…lording it over others…taking pleasure in their stumbling…displeases our God…                                                                                                                             

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